Hundreds Protest For, Against Health Care Reform in Columbus

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Harold Elder, a health care reform supporter, debates the issue with opponents.(Photo: Photo: Sam Hendren)
Harold Elder, a health care reform supporter, debates the issue with opponents.(Photo: Photo: Sam Hendren)

Hundreds of people protested for and against health care reform in Columbus Tuesday. The protest took place outside the local office of 15th district representative Mary Jo Kilroy.

The rally was organized by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity. The group opposes the health care reform bill making its way through Congress. Protesters wanting to demonstrate their opposition chanted ‘kill the bill.’

A total health care takeover is the way Americans for Prosperity puts it. Rebbecca Heimlich heads the group’s Ohio division.

“It’s going to be a government takeover of our health care, Heimlich says. “Government is going to be regulating our health care, they are going to have boards regulating our health care. And it’s clear that the American people don’t want it.

Another protester warned that government health care would end up being run like the Veterans Administration.

“I’m a Vet. My god, don’t ever put me in the VA. It scares the hell out of me.”

Though opponents were vastly outnumbered, health care reform supporters held a counter demonstration.

What do we want? Health care. When do we want it? Now.

Harold Elder, an air conditioning contractor, said he supports Kilroy and heath care reform.

“I think it was right to support health care so that’s what I’m here for is to show my support for the health care bill,” Elder says.

Kilroy has supported health care reform in the past. She voted for the House bill. But she still refuses to say how she’ll vote on the Senate version which several house Democrats oppose. Declining interviews, her office released a statement which said she would continue to listen to her constituents, not Washington lobbyists.

Asked if he was frustrated with Kilroy’s recent lack of clarity on the issue, Harold Elder answered this way:

“I’m really frustrated with the government altogether, I mean we ought to be able to get things done with a lot less partisan you know, it’s crazy,” Elder says. “You know that’s my biggest thing, it’s not just her, I think this is something that we need, there are a lot of changes that we need to make but this gridlock thing is what I find frustrating. Just a total gridlock.”

Kilroy promised to post the entire bill on her website and take comments.

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